You don’t need me to say that we are living in disruptive times. The good news for the Church of Christ, as I look at it is this: “We are made for this!” In all times and seasons, Jesus says, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Here is all the certainty that we need: Jesus will surely do all that he says he will do. Our role then is to cooperate with him, empowered, comforted and led by His Spirit as we live out the mission Jesus has given to his Body.

The COCWA Team, Board and Committees have been carefully considering how we may best support the Churches of our Association as each Church seeks to faithfully make disciples in their communities. On behalf of the Board, I look forward to sharing with the Churches our plans for 2020 and beyond at our Annual General Meeting. As a Board and Team, we are convinced that Churches of Christ has an important role to play as a vehicle that supports local churches. Our Association values the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ and so we have the capacity to serve the mission, with one another, through the sharing of resources. Our Association values the distinctiveness of the local church and recognises the spiritual authority of local church leadership. Held together, these values act as stabilisers as the churches move in faithful responsiveness to the mission of Christ in a changing world.

We can have full confidence that our connection to one another, our gatherings for worship and standing together in the name of Jesus is worth all of our time and attention. Paul challenges us to grasp the mission with everything we have because as we do so, we “… shine like stars in the sky as (we) hold firmly to the world of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16).

The Bible narrative enfolds us into the theme of faithfulness. We find ourselves in good company as we navigate our times through the timeless stories of people who lived and learnt what it means to live from a faithful heart before God as he calls us to “Go”, “Follow” and “Trust”. We hope that you will be encouraged as you read through the rich diversity of reflections on the theme of faithfulness from the people who have served within the Association through this past year.



I love the description of Churches of Christ as a movement rather than a denomination. It conveys the message of Christianity in action – demonstrating the love of God to the community at large through active engagement.

One of the great challenges facing the Christian Church today in our increasingly secular western world is the challenge of remaining relevant – the challenge of engaging with the community in meaningful and valuable ways that bring people to Christ, willingly and happily. This is more than establishing Church buildings and expecting people to come each Sunday for a couple of hours of worship and fellowship. It involves reaching out.

Members of Churches of Christ have demonstrated capacity to punch well above their weight in this space with initiatives such as Bethesda Hospital; the Bethanie Aged Care Group; and Churches of Christ Sports and Recreation readily springing to mind. Long may it be so that small groups of committed Christians take risks and use their gifts and talents to develop activities and undertakings that make such valuable contributions to society.

But we can’t rest on our laurels – there is always more to do.

As we look to the future, the question becomes – Where can we make a positive and valuable difference – demonstrating our love for our neighbour? (the parable of The Good Samaritan comes to mind). This may involve a shift in our thinking involving a greater focus on people engaged in activities reflecting the mission of the Church rather than buildings and facilities. This will no doubt involve bold decisions after prayerful thought and planning.

I encourage you to be bold – look forward positively to what can be achieved.



For several months now, I have found myself drawn to reflect on the nature of faithfulness.  I wonder if it is a quality characteristic of the Christian community that will become more of an obvious discipleship distinctive.

When I think of faithfulness, my mind turns to Paul’s “saying” in 2 Timothy 2:11-12:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful –
for he cannot deny himself.

As in all things, Jesus is our exemplar in living faithfully.  Jesus faithfully proved God’s faithfulness through the cross.  It is our faith, fidelity, loyalty and belief in God’s covenantal promise to deal with sin and death, through Jesus, that defines us as the People of God.  In Christ, we are declared righteous and we share in his mission to make his liberation known to all people.[1]

God’s faithfulness does not change, and it is not altered or influenced by time, culture or circumstance.  The certainty of God’s faithful love and reconciling action through Christ brings ought to give us great comfort and confidence.

As faith in and faithfulness to Jesus continues to be challenged, it is important that we keep our hearts oriented by the solidity of God’s faithful love towards all people: especially to those of us who have be incorporated into his household.

14We are ruled by Christ’s love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. 15 And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us.

16 We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. 17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.

19 What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20 We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 21 Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (CEV).

As we head into the 130th year of Churches of Christ in WA, may we continue to faithfully live, serve and worship as Christ’s ambassadors.


[1] NT Wright, “The Day The Revolution Began”, Chapter 13, “The Death of Jesus in Paul’s Letter to the Romans: Passover and Atonement.”




Ministry Support Minister

When we describe someone as a faithful Christian leader, what we have in mind is a person of integrity and congruency.  A faithful leader is one who demonstrates high levels of commitment and dependability.  A faithful leader lives from a deep conviction as a loyal and devoted follower of Jesus.  A faithful leader is a person who reflects maturity and the fruit of the Spirit.  You know you are with a person of faithfulness in Christ because you experience the love of Christ when you are with them.  Faithfulness is the fruit of believing God, the ultimate Faithful One.  God can be absolutely trusted in all things and at all times.  He enables and empowers us to be faithful as we love and lead in every opportunity.



Ministry Support Minister

Being full of faith as I seek to serve and resource our Pastors, Boards and local churches is a pursuit that remains a privilege and a challenge.  Being full of faith is an ongoing pursuit in which I value being part of a committed and competent Resource Centre team.

In the last 12 months I have intentionally sought to remind and draw our churches to the reality that God is at work in the midst of life. As some churches struggle with limited human and financial resources and the relational reality of living in a fallen world, I am even more convinced of the need to fix our eyes on Jesus and the message of hope, grounded in the Gospel, that has been entrusted to us. As we grow in offering a taste of what it means to be a part of a Christ-centered community, I believe that we will see the faithfulness of God manifest.



Ministers in Retirement

I am encouraged as I watch over ministers who are in the retirement phase of their journey in life. Even though taking that leap from paid employment into retirement comes with many uncertainties and varying emotional challenges, those who have the health, often continue serving in a variety of ministries. Our local churches have an incredible bank of experience and wisdom they can connect with and use for the maturing and service of the local church.

Many of ministers continue preaching, supporting and sharing wisdom they have gathered over time supporting smaller congregations. They have travelled into our country areas for preaching ministry.

The number of retired ministers who are facing limiting and challenging health issues spend many hours praying for their colleagues and any other points that are brought to their attention. Congregations that understand these opportunities and harness this faithful resource find blessings for their cause and assist the retired minister to feel valued in the midst of their afflictions.

This year we honoured two ministry families who had awesome stories to tell at our “This Is Your Life Dinner”. Bill & Joan Grosser and Keith & Julie Ware continue to live out their lives full of years of faithfulness and dedication to the Lord.

This year we have paid tribute to the passing of two retired ministers. Peter Spence and Trevor Booth.  Both were esteemed as men of faithful service to the Lord and his Church.  “Well done good and faithful servants.”



New Works Minister

A great challenge for Christians leaders can be our struggle with fear.  American author and self-confessed Calvinist Marilynne Robinson says; “First, contemporary America is full of fear. And second, fear is not a Christian habit of mind.” Marilynne continues, “… no one seems to have an unkind word to say about fear these days, unchristian as surely as this is.” Marilynne believes that countering fear is a challenge; “Fear operates as an appetite or an addiction. You can never be safe enough.” Marilynne’s observations ring true for Australia as well.

As Christian people leaders we need to work with each other to help break the unchristian habit of fear. We need to remember that the Christian story is one of God’s faithfulness. God’s promise to Moses was that he would be with him.  Further, Jesus promises the disciples that he will be with them until the close of the age. God remains faithful to those who follow Jesus.

Fear will keep us stuck in a place of captivity because it teaches us that we can never be safe enough.  Faith pulls us close to Jesus.  Faithfulness is the movement of “go”: remaining close to Jesus, following his leading in and through all seasons that come our way in life.



Youth & Young Adult Development

Picture this…you’re 27 and entering the prime of your life. The path you have been tracking changes suddenly. 9 years later, you decide to fully embrace this new way and go “all-in”. After 1 year, poor health forces you to retire. All you can now do is sit at a desk and sell insurance. How would you respond? I can tell you how Thomas Chisholm responded:

Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Faithfulness. “Long continued and steadfast devotion.” At 27, Thomas met Jesus. After “crawling” with him for 9 yrs, he wanted to not just walk, but run! After 1 year in devoted ministry, poor health brought his plans to an end. Sitting at his desk selling insurance also lead him to pen over 1200 poems and multiple hymns, one of which was Great is Thy Faithfulness. If not for that desk job, we may never have had this hymn to draw us close in communion with our Creator. God is faithful. The Holy Spirit is with us as our guide and comfort. Challenges are just new opportunities in unexpected wrapping.



Sports Minister

When I think of “faithfulness” and On Mission Games there are two things that come to mind right away. First is the faithfulness to the programs that the churches have been contributing to, and participating in, for many years.  To all those people who have faithfully invested into the ministry of State Youth Games, Masters Games, and Sports Plus over the years, we say a huge thank you. I also think about the faithfulness of people who have volunteered their time and efforts to see others come closer to who Jesus is through the ministry of sport.

The second thing that I reflect on is the call to being a faithful disciple of Jesus.  I like to think about how we can spur churches and individuals on in their pursuit of sharing Jesus around them.  As I go about my work in linking people from churches with their friends and community through sport, I think about ways in which we can foster the relational side of discipleship, with intention to see God do transformative work in the lives of others.

I am so thankful for the faithfulness of those who stepped out and established a ministry through sport through Churches of Christ.  My heart is to continue the legacy of being first a foremost a faithful Christ-follower as I bring my contribution to help continue the faithful work of those who have laid such a great foundation for all of us.



Global Mission Partners and Indigenous Ministries Australia Partnership Coordinator WA

For me, faithfulness is about continually coming back to the same simple question: who (or what) have I put my ultimate faith in? When things are going pear-shaped or when a particular situation or relationship is tested, it is the never-changing reality of God’s love and faithfulness towards me that keeps me grounded. Even as I grumble, complain and question whether God knows what He’s doing, I hope that I can hold fast to the person and character of Jesus through all the bumps along the road.  Faith in God’s expansive love is what keeps me grounded and faithful to His mission.  And when I forget this truth and begin to put too much faith in things or projects or people, I also trust that He will bring me back to that place of secure faith in Him, no matter how far I’ve strayed.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Col. 2:6-7)



Finance Manager

I am so thankful to God for the fruitful year it has been!  God has trusted us with his mission to nurture, flourish and multiply.  As an accountant, I see myself as a manager of God’s assets, and I believe that we are called to faithfully thrive in all of the opportunities Christ brings to us.  Providing bookkeeping for churches is just one way that Jesus has given us capacity to help churches manage and use their resources with faithful wisdom. I hope this bookkeeping service continues to be as much a blessing for churches as it has been for me personally.




I thank God every day for His never-ending faithfulness, for providing everything I need.  Even in the tough times, He is always present, prompting me every day, to gently to come to Him in all things.  I seek to practice this truth in both the small everyday decisions and the big ones. When I continually want to take back control, He gently reminds me that He is there for me and to lean in on Him. Prov 3:5-6




The hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” comes to mind when I think of ‘faithfulness’. Everyday I am blown away by God’s grace and mercy in my life and the abundant blessings He pours out for me, even though at times it is a delayed realisation and I am not always as faithful to Him as He is to me. Having been born and raised in Africa, I have had the privilege of going home every few years and each time I am always reminded by the local people the absolute dependency of putting your trust and faith in God. Without it, we have nothing.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me




A passion of mine is community development, both locally and internationally. I love to see the transformation that individuals can bring to those around them and to their greater community of faith. No two transformations are alike, and no two communities are the same; we must therefore be in the habit of drawing close to God to allow him to settle any discomfort towards other communities and the way in which they relate to God, which is far different from my own. Staying faithful to God involves actively remembering that his work is global, cross-cultural, and inter-denominational; that every local church and every believer in Christ is playing an equally significant part as my own. It brings me great joy to see these same values reflected in the board of COCWA, and it has been an absolute honour to serve on the board over this last year. I am truly excited to see where God will lead us in the times ahead.



I oversee a team of chaplains on the frontline of addiction in our city, as overdoses are increasing with the rising use of opioids.

Successful ministry is not counted in terms of numbers of people turning up, as we are off the scale in terms of people showing up in misery. Success is not “cure”, but rather connection, acceptance, and shared humanity, in the light of Christ.

Faithfulness as a follower of Jesus in this ministry for me is a willingness to own my failures and blessings. Not presenting myself as the answer to the current issues; rather, presenting as one who is able to channel Christ to those in need. More often than not I am the one in need. Faithfulness then for me is simply smiling after suffering, hope beyond another overdose, continuing to care for the seemingly endless stream of people seeking freedom from addiction.

Please join with me in praying for the countless families in our city who are struggling with addiction.



The longer I walk with the Lord the more I become aware that He weighs things very differently to us. In a culture that is determined to escape the ordinary and mundane, Jesus sets His gaze on something that is both increasingly neglected, undervalued and perceived as a boring attribute – faithfulness.

I myself am aware of and preach those famous words that we say we long to hear from Jesus, “Well done good and FAITHFUL servant”, yet every day I get caught out and have to ask myself, “Do I weigh faithfulness in the same way Jesus does?”

As I said the longer I walk with the Lord the more aware I am becoming of how He weighs things and increasingly this shapes my life. My entire leadership philosophy and daily decisions are increasingly being shaped by this word, even if it appears I am being left behind by others.

Day in, day out remaining faithful.  Everyday endeavouring to do what is right in God’s eyes. Everyday making mistakes, getting back up and going again. Everyday showing up. You can’t weigh faithfulness in a day, a week or even a year, but it is weighed over a lifetime and that is why it is so rare these days.

When I see Him, I pray that I will be able to hear those words, “Well done good and FAITHFUL servant…”



Reflecting on faithfulness in my professional and personal life, I first considered the populist interpretation – which is something along the lines of ‘staying true despite extenuating circumstances’.  This remains a challenge as life throws us more curve balls than Nathan Lyon can muster and we are, or at least I am, master of arguing that circumstances are different this time around. For me, faithfulness runs parallel to forgiveness, where we know that experiencing forgiveness works when we forgive others.  Likewise, remaining faithful is much easier when keeping tabs on God evidencing his faithfulness to us. Yes, prayer and abiding in Him are crucial here, and the rewards are out of this world!  I have developed, no, that’s not entirely true, I keep developing the habit of looking for the presence and guidance of Jesus in everything I do and find that that works remarkably well for me.  I want to encourage you to give that a go!



When I was a kid, there was a song played at my grandfather’s funeral, and the chorus went:


May all who come behind us find us faithful

May the fire of our devotion light their way

May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe

And the lives we live inspire them to obey


Decades later they still ring in my head when I think of faithfulness, reminding me that my daily actions and decisions are ultimately about what I will leave behind. Faithfulness is a word that inspires me to stay true to His call on my life regardless of “success” or “failure,” times of joy or adversity, to simply live passionately for Him with the one life I have been given.



I recently read a quote that said ‘Nobody slouches into faithfulness – they do it on purpose’. Faithfulness and purpose are two strong words. They say to me that we should strive to do what God has called us to do in both good times and difficult times with a strong sense of purpose and gratefulness for what He has done for us. And as we purposely strive, our faithfulness is developed and strengthened. In leadership, purposefully striving and seeking God’s will, and then stepping out into faith is our challenge and at the same time, the greatest gift.

God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:24



I’ve been reflecting on FAITH more often than usual of late. Exercising faith requires SOMEONE to put our faith in. For a lot of people, that “someone” is a spouse or business partner, or if it’s not “someone”, then “something” – our own abilities, our superannuation balance or things going smoothly generally. I know I have sometimes been guilty of not praying enough because those “somethings” are going well. When I reflect on the “someone”, my faith grows because that “someone” is God. He is the Jehovah Jireh. In Hebrew, it means Jehovah the provider. I praise and thank God as I break through the layers of human thinking: fate, human rationalisation, fait accompli and logic and remind myself that God is in control. I think our meetings at COCWA board reflect a focus and dependency on God and the great commission and its my prayer that we continue to exercise faith to go into areas that require faith.



In my personal life and in the life of my church family I have definitely seen the faithfulness of God on display over this last year. We have experienced the steady hand of God in a number of painful circumstances that would most likely have led us into dark and difficult days were it not for the Lord’s comfort and peace. We have faced huge challenges as a church as we have embarked on a building program of epic proportions but have watched as the Lord has gone before us and proven himself faithful in all ways. And even now, as we look ahead into an uncertain future as a church, as an association, and as individual disciples of Christ, we can still hear the call of God to boldly place our hope in his faithful hands, trusting that all things belong to the Lord.




Faithfulness suggests that obedience builds and strengthens one’s faith. A demonstration of this principle is seen throughout the bible, particularly the Book of Ruth, who knew she needed to be faithful to the family God had given her. And because of her faithfulness, God took care of the rest. Even though we may not get what we want at the time, whether it’s success or accomplishments, God has an ultimate purpose and time. Obedience comes in many forms, but ultimately it means obeying and trusting that when we are faithful, we honour God and allow him to work in our lives. There have been events impacting our family this year – my partner undergoing a critical surgery, to the birth of our second child –  prayer taught us faith. It was hard work, and certainly it is not a guarantor of getting what we want, but it gave us strength to face any obstacles and put aside doubts and fall in line with God’s purpose.



Being faithful to God in my day to day living means making decisions (even the smallest ones) in reliance on God’s grace and mercy. It is my desire to live my life with an understanding that everything I have, comes from God. With that perspective, there is no alternative but to live a life of total dependence and faith in God.

It is when we train ourselves to be faithful in the little things, that God will allow us the opportunity to show our faithfulness in the big things. Being a creature of habit, I do not often push myself out of my comfort zone but on the times I do, and step out in faith because I feel a prompting from God, He has shown me time and time again that He will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. So my prayer for the year to come is that I will continue to lead a faithful life in service to my family, friends and most importantly, the Lord Jesus.



Steadfast love and faithfulness are often hand-in-hand within God’s Word. We work out the things God has for us to do as servants in the context of our lives from a source of love. It is only through the love of Jesus that we can truly be working out of faith. Personally, I have been challenged to remain steadfast in being faithful by trusting God for what I hope for, but haven’t seen yet. Some days I let myself be dismayed and overwhelmed with difficulties I faced. Faithfulness in action is being obedient out of love, trusting God’s character and pursuing the intimate and right relationship that God desires with us.



As another year comes to a close I reflect upon my role within the properties committee and how remaining patient and faithful in our work sometimes leads to results we had not yet thought of or would have not thought of on our own strength. The year started with a goal to acquire property for CoCWA but in our search has only lead to more questions than answers. It is with these questions that we have been required to explore what God is asking us to do with what we have been entrusted. Questions, such as what is the future of God’s Church in WA to look like, where will there be need, who will be the future generation and where do we spend our money? We can at this point only know that by staying faithful and patient will God truly answer our questions so that we can make the best decision for the CoCWA Properties Committee.


Lee Sykes- Cornerstone Church, Busselton


God calls us not to be successful, but to be faithful. Half my life ago, when I excitedly started out in pastoral ministry, I would have agreed with this statement, and still do. But like all of us, God shared with me his capacity to visualise and create, and the idea of seeing the grand plans that were articulating themselves in my heart and mind coming to life, was very attractive! In fact, it was the lure of these outcomes that became a large chunk of my motivation to throw myself in to ministry. “On the 8th day I saw what I have made (in my head), and it was good.”

Then the actual journey begins, and the fantasised ideal becomes a tumultuous reality. Does faithfulness mean to take hold and pursue, hopefully with childlike confidence as well as humble obedience, the visions you feel God has placed on your heart? Absolutely! But time has passed and I look back on my life thus far, and examine my heart, seeking a deeper and integrated conviction of what faithfulness is.

I reflect on how my chequered story has corralled me to pursue a smooth sailing journey and idyllic destination. I felt keenly the heartaches of ministry, growing up in a leadership home. Like every human, I have accumulated wounds which act as a spur to my moving and thinking. I reflect on how easily we enter into a pilgrimage for the experience and destination it is presenting, and substitute that over the person with whom we are invited to walk with and toward. I reflect on how my fragile soul craves a never-ending ribbon of achievements to construct its sense of worth instead of being secure in an identity derived from the relationship and community the pilgrimage offers.

When Jesus called a few normal blokes to pilgrimage, to “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” I have no doubt that the eternal object of their desire could easily be substituted with the shining task and goal of seeing people won to him. On the one hand, faithfulness does begin with putting down the fishing nets and having a redirection of task and goal, but the abiding heart of faithfulness is in the coming and following, in the knowing and appreciating, the One who calls us. Hebrews says a person of faith “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). We fix our eyes on a further destination, but it is the architect and builder that should capture our heart of hearts, not the construction.

At the end of the day, any rendition of faithfulness on our part is a wispy apparition of true faithfulness. Only God can truly be called faithful; He is completely true and reliable to be and do what He says. Our wrestle in life is to know and trust him to be that, and to find our place and rest in that. You never know, along the way, we might even see some of the cool things we are chasing happen in our short life venture.

Daron & Mel Crothers- Lifestreams Karawara and Neo-Life Ministries


“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Undoubtedly, many of us would have sung, prayed and lived out this timeless truth – we certainly did during our first ten years of ministry life within an established church context. However, it would be the next eight years, as we (together with our children) pioneered new churches for Christ, that we would discover this truth in a deeply life-altering way.

At times, we, as well as many church planters we know, could write our very own book of church planting lamentations starting with these questions: Where are you Lord in the loneliness and isolation? Must we endure another heart-breaking and heart-shattering loss? Why do team members suddenly leave without telling us? How come the constant spiritual strongholds don’t seem to break quickly in the only name that is powerful enough to do it, Jesus Christ?

There are times where it would be easy to throw in the towel. If we are honest, we are all tempted to do this at certain times when the battle becomes wearisome on the soul.

We know from Scripture that the people of Israel had lost all expectation and courage when they were exiled from their promised land. In fact, in the same chapter of Lamentations 3, Jeremiah expresses that their endurance and hope had actually perished!

Church planting leaders alike also understand the probable heartache of what it means to lose something you have been working so hard for. In the early formidable years of a church plant, we often contemplated if she would actually survive. Having planted three churches with a potential 2-3 more next year, we can say it doesn’t seem to get any easier.

But God’s amazing perspective and his small still voice has the much needed power to change the inner climate of a leader whose hope is desperately failing and whose soul is crippling with pain. The Lord is able to supernaturally minimise heartache and loss and to richly use it for his glory and his visionary purposes because He is always in charge. As the writer put it so eloquently and we say here again:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

This means, daily he can always be relied upon to show up when we need him most. Even the deeply emotional prophet Jeremiah, could continue to boldly declare:

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.”

If we are to persevere in our hope and trust in God, then our faithfulness can only be deeply rooted in Christ, who was completely faithful to the cross. In other words, no matter how tough things get, no matter how many ounces of hope may be left, we are able to stay the course and run the race because Jesus went before us and did exactly that. He is ever-reliable to do what he has purposed and promised he would do.

May all of us continue to rely solely and deeply on the steadfast love, hope and faithfulness that is found in Jesus Christ. May He strengthen you fully to stay the course!

Ben Johnston- Subi Church


The story is told of King Henry III of Germany, who ruled in the eleventh century. It is said that King Henry III grew tired of his royal responsibilities and the pressures that accompanied the monarchy. He sought a simpler life of contemplation and applied to be a monk in a monastery. The religious superior of the monastery, Prior Richard, is reported to have said, “Your Majesty, do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”

Henry replied, “I understand. The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”

“Then I will tell you what you must do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has placed you.”

Like King Henry III, I have found that it is easy for people in church leadership to become tired and weary of the responsibilities that come with shepherding God’s people. It is tempting to want to leave a role that God has given us because of the many tasks and the weight of duty that come with church leadership. Who doesn’t want a simpler, less complicated life?

In this regard, I have found two thoughts from Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 very helpful. Paul writes, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). First, our faithfulness is to the Holy Spirit’s call to serve God’s people. It is the Spirit who has placed us as overseers, this is regardless of the human or organizational process that facilitated the Spirit’s call. When we faithfully serve God’s church, we are being faithful to God’s call on our lives. It is useful for us to think in this way. My faithfulness is to a divine call, not an organizational need.

The second observation comes from Paul’s plea for watchfulness. It is urgent that we “keep watch,” first over ourselves, and then over the people of God. Leaders will not be able to be faithful to the heavy demands of ministry without maintaining a personal walk with the Lord. We minister to others because God ministers to us. Our Shepherd God restores our souls and leads us in quiet places.

A wonderful prayer for all those in ministry is this: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need. Restore my soul and keep me faithful to serve your people and fulfil your great calling on my life.


Over the past three years, the COCWA Board has been engaged with the notion of a 100 year horizon.  The purpose of taking this stance was to enable the Board to enter into robust and innovative exploration of how to support COCWA Churches through the 21st Century.  This has meant reviewing strategy around property and funds and taking a clear-eyed view of the social and cultural challenges the Australian church is facing.

The COCWA Board has continued to embrace and affirm the core DNA of Churches of Christ: that COCWA is a network of autonomous churches who place a high value on the unity and diversity of the local Church, respecting the spiritual and governance authority of church boards and ministers.  This means that strategies to support and strengthen local churches must be developed in consultation with the local church and deployed through the local church because it is through the local church that the mission of Christ is expressed.

At the November AGM, we look forward to introducing the 2020 COCWA Board Strategy to the Churches.  For now, we provide this overview of key areas that have been of particular concern and interest to the COCWA Board.


The Kids Vision Network was reactivated in 2017 and Jono Vose was contracted for 1 day per week to help connect people leading children’s ministries in COCWA Churches. Jono concluded his role as Kids Vision Minister at the end of August and we thank him for all of the energy and enthusiasm that he brought to this work. Through his time with COCWA, Jono helped to reestablish the Kids Vision network and support the review of COCWA’s Safe Programme. Jono also brought his considerable energy and enthusiasm to COCWA Events, in particular the Minister’s gatherings and in supporting the Beyond Kids Min Conference, an initiative of the Warnbro Church.

About 120 people drawn from a wide range of churches attended the Beyond Kids Min Conference which was held in the newly opened Stage 1 facilities at the Warnbro Church. The conference is a partnership with the Baptist Union WA and was supported by the Bible Society and Scripture Union.  The conference offers an important opportunity for networking, resourcing, equipping and connection for volunteers and ministry leaders.  This year’s keynote speaker was Bree Mills from Glen Waverly Anglican church in Melbourne. Bree spoke about wholistic faith formation for children and brought a strong emphasis on children as disciples who are included in the mission of Jesus as disciple-makers themselves.

The COCWA Team are continuing to support the Kids Vision network and will be liaising with key ministry leaders in early 2020 with a view to strengthening the network and access to resourcing and equipping children’s ministry in local churches.


COCWA has been working alongside the Youth Vision network as churches face the challenge of helping young people connect with faith in Christ. In order to gain some understanding of the challenges, Amit Khaira was commissioned to undertake a research project that focussed on the thoughts and experiences of youth ministry leaders and senior pastors. Two key conclusions emerged from this project:

  1. Leadership and Discipleship are not the same. That is, it is important that we focus on leadership development skills and that there is an equal focus on discipleship/spiritual formation of young leaders. Often youth leaders find themselves focussed on the pressure to deliver weekly youth programmes at the cost of their own spiritual development and the time/resource capacity to disciple others.
  2. Disciples are hand-made, not mass-produced. There is an understandable tension that youth leaders face as they network: the temptation to compare their (often smaller) youth ministry with large church youth groups. Youth leaders need to be supported and affirmed in the opportunities that they have to help young people be formed in faith, in the context of communities where they can be well known, included and embraced.  Large scale gatherings have an important part to play for the youth and youth adult demographic.  There are good regional gathering opportunities that youth ministries can engage with that can support smaller focussed youth ministries.

As a movement, COCWA churches have an opportunity to lead the way in exploring what hand-making disciples could look like.  The challenge is immense and diverse.  For some churches, engaging with youth and young adults in disadvantaged areas is demanding from a practical and pastoral care perspective.  For others, connecting with and seeking to form community with young people whose social skills are formed and informed by their technology can be difficult.

The research affirms that the challenges in engaging and activating Gen Y, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are well documented within wider culture and are reflected in our faith communities.  The opportunity that churches have is to be places for belonging, relationship and formation from cradle to the grave.  The local church has the opportunity to offer young people important, and often underestimated intergenerational connection.

Amit Khaira will be concluding his role with Youth Vision at the end of 2019. Amit’s role, in partnership with Stirling Theological College and his leadership of the Catalyst Programme, has provided the Association with a clear platform from which we can navigate the future together through strategy that is being developed by the COCWA Board.

Here are some more of the research facts:


of COCWA churches report having no contact with people under the age of 21;


of the churches that do have contact with people under the age of 21 have groups of 15 or less;


of the church population under 21 are located within 9 of COCWA churches;


of the workers who lead youth ministries are also senior ministers of their congregations.


The Properties Committee have been instrumental in assisting the COCWA Board consider how the Association can leverage assets for capacity building within local churches.  The Committee have diligently attended to two key tasks through the past year:

  1. Overseeing COCWA’s management of property held in Trust.
  2. Supporting the work of the COCWA Board towards leveraging property assets in support of emerging strategy to support and strengthen local churches.

The Committee meet bi-monthly and have valued opportunities to hold meetings on site at the invitation of local churches: Encounter, Living Grace Dianella and Mount Pleasant.  These have been great opportunities for the Committee to meet with church leaders as they assess their property needs, challenges and future plans.


  • The Corrigin Church was gifted to COCWA and will be retained for the Corrigin Church community.
  • The Committee has assisted the Kalgoorlie Church as it embarks on an exciting project that will see the church relocate to a new site and a brand new building in 2020.
  • Negotiations to acquire a large parcel of land north of Perth is ongoing in consultation with the True North Church.
  • The Subiaco Church is in the process of being granted a Deed of Licence over the majority of the Fremantle Church properties. From 2020, the Properties Committee will be working with the Subi/Fremantle Church on a process towards future development of this important and significant site for COCWA.
  • The Revolving Capital Fund has one interest free loan. We celebrate with the Mundaring, Kalamunda and Encounter churches as they have completed renovation projects and have returned interest free loans to the Fund through this past year.


32  %
Partner contributions and donations
26  %
Church Contributions
19  %
Insurance Contributions
23  %
Interest on funds

The COCWA Board has continued to work on strategy development so that the “common purse” of the Association is directed towards capacity building of people as well as supporting churches through infrastructure development.  When we speak about capacity building of people, we think about ensuring that the COCWA Staff Team and their work to support church ministry and governance teams, to provide operational services like the bookkeeping service and insurance programme.  The Board is working towards plans that will make more funds available for capacity building of people within local churches through an initiative that we are calling the “Well Funding Project”.  We will be talking with the churches about this at the AGM in November.

COCWA continues to provide seed funding for the role of State Sports Minister through CCSRA.  This is a 3-year project in partnership with CCSRA that has seen a greater capacity for alignment with churches built through sports ministry events.

The COCWA Operations Team continues to provide subsidized bookkeeping services to 9 churches and 2 partner organisations.  Through the CCI insurance programme, COCWA has been able to provide subsidized insurance for all of the churches, absorbing rate increases and providing kick-starter insurance for new churches.  Our hope is to be able to continue to expand these services as a very tangible way in which we can support church boards to be confident about their capacity to be a viable and flourishing community of faith on mission in their area.


Albany Church of Christ
Bassendean Church of Christ
Beckeham Community Church
Bridgeley Church of Christ
Bridgetown Church of Christ
Bruce Rock Church of Christ
Bullcreek Church of Christ
Bunbury Aboriginal Christian Fellowship
Bunbury (South) Church of Christ
Carnarvon Church of Christ
Church @ the Stadium
City Church of Christ
Collie Church of Christ
Cornerstone Church of Christ
– Busselton
– Vasse
Corrigin Church of Christ
Dalkeith Road Church
Dowerin Church of Christ
Dunsborough Church of Christ

Eastlake Church
Elevate Church
Encounter Church
Esperance Church of Christ
Foothills Church of Christ
Fremantle Church of Christ
Geraldton Church of Christ
Harvey Church of Christ
Indonesian Family Church
Jesus Central
Jesus is the Way
Kalamunda Church of Christ
Kalgoorlie Church of Christ
Kingsley Church of Christ
Lake Gwelup Christian Church
Lifestreams Christian Church
– Bentley
– Karawara
– Stirling
– South Perth
Living Grace Dianella

Maylands Church of Christ
Merredin Church of Christ
Morawa Church of Christ
Mount Pleasant Church of Christ
Mundaring Church of Christ
Mukinbudin Church of Christ
Narembeen Church of Christ
New Spring Church
Nollamara Church of Christ
Noranda Church of Christ
Norseman Community Church
Perth Arabic Christian Centre
Rockingham Church of Christ
Roleystone Community Church
Serpentine Church of Christ
Shalom House Church
Southern River
Spires Life Church
Subiaco Church
The Rocks Ministry
Thornlie Church of Christ

True North Church
– Merriwa
– Mullaloo
Valley Church of Christ
Warnbro Community Church
Warwick Church of Christ
Wembley Downs Church of Christ
Westcity Church of Christ
York Church of Christ


The Bethanie Group
Bethesda Hospital
Building Extension Mutual Fund (BEMF)
Churches of Christ Sport & Recreation Association (CCSRA)
Crossways Community Services
Initiate Australia
Masters & Co. Psychology
Moorditj Keila
Shalom House Group
Sonlife Ministries


22 Plantation Street MENORA WA 6050

Mail to PO Box 458 DIANELLA WA 6059

Phone +61 8 9471 8500


Office Hours Monday-Thursday, 9am-4pm